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©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Loan Consolidation: What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision Michele Colson.

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Presentation on theme: "©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Loan Consolidation: What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision Michele Colson."— Presentation transcript:

1 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Loan Consolidation: What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision Michele Colson Vice President Consolidation Campus Programs Sallie Mae April 2006

2 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Welcome To The Seminar ! ! ! Consolidation often seems complicated, especially now You probably have questions — lots of questions What’s right for one borrower may not be right for another—your individual loan portfolio will determine what is best for you

3 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Welcome to the Seminar ! ! ! Agenda –Loan Consolidation Basics –6 Key Decision Points –Other Considerations Early Repayment Consolidation Regulatory Update –Questions and Answers

4 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Learning Objectives By the end of the seminar you will: –Know what federal student loan consolidation is and how to determine if it is a good option for you –Understand the main regulatory aspects of federal student loan consolidation –Be able to determine the best time for you to consolidate –Know how to apply for federal student loan consolidation

5 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Introduction You are getting ready to reap the rewards of your education loan investment –Your medical degree will repay you, on average, 1.9 million dollars over your lifetime! Successfully repaying your loans will help establish and build your credit Failing to pay them will have negative ramifications for years Learning how to make the best decisions for you is what this session will cover “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin

6 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What is Loan Consolidation? A Federal Consolidation loan allows the borrower to combine all of their eligible federal education loans into one new loan – and can extend the repayment term, allowing lower monthly payments. Lender issues new loan and pays off all of the loans put into the consolidation –The individual, consolidated loans no longer exist –Loans that have been consolidated cannot, in almost all cases, be unconsolidated –New loan has a different interest rate and different payback terms

7 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What Loans are Eligible?* Stafford Loans – Federal and Direct –Subsidized and unsubsidized Perkins Loans Most Health and Human Services Loans –HPSL –Nursing – NSL, including LDS –HEAL Consolidation Loans – Federal and Direct** PLUS Loans – Federal and Direct –Cannot combine parent’s loans with student’s loans Private Loans –Cannot be consolidated in a federal consolidation loan *See Federal Consolidation Application for a comprehensive listing of eligible loans. **Subject to regulatory limitations for re-consolidation.

8 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What is the Minimum Balance? Federal rules do not set a minimum balance Lenders are allowed to impose minimum balances –MEDLOANS consolidation minimum is $10,000 Federal rules do not set a maximum balance

9 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What is the Interest Rate? Fixed rate that is the weighted-average of underlying loan rates, rounded up to nearest 1/8th of a percent No matter what the weighted-average rate, the fixed consolidation loan rate cannot exceed 8.25%

10 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Weighted Average Example

11 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What are the Repayment Options? There are four basic types of repayment plans from which you can choose for your FFELP* student loans, whether you consolidate or not. There are advantages and disadvantages to each repayment option Standard – equal payments over the life of the loan Graduated – tiered payments over the life of the loan Extended – if eligible Income Sensitive – tied to income, payment reset annually –Plan details may vary by lender The repayment option you choose will impact the amount of time it takes to repay your loan, the size of your monthly payment, and your overall interest costs Additional details will be reviewed later * Note: The FDLP consolidation program has similar, but not identical repayment plans.

12 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. How Long is the Payback Period? 10 to 30 years to repay, depending on how much you owe.* Shorter payback is allowed – ask your lender for details. Total Education DebtMax Payback Period** Less than $7, Years $7,500 to $9, Years $10,000 to $19, Years $20,000 to $39, Years $40,000 to $59, Years $60,000 or more 30 Years *Including federal and private education loans not put in consolidation loan, up to the amount of the consolidation loan. **Slightly different payback schedule applies to Direct Consolidation Loans.

13 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Advantages of Federal Consolidation Lowers monthly payments by extending the repayment term Can combine loan payments to multiple lenders into one payment, to one lender Replaces a variable interest rate with a fixed interest rate, protecting you against future rate increases No application fees, origination fees, pre- payment penalties, or credit checks

14 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Disadvantages of Federal Consolidation Total interest costs will likely increase due to longer payback period May lose some loan benefits attached to the loans that are paid off with consolidation Fixed rate that prevents borrowers from taking advantage of any future decreases in the interest rates on variable rate student loans

15 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Should You Consolidate? That depends on your objectives Consolidation is a debt-management tool that can: –Reduce your monthly payment –Simplify check-writing chores –Establish a fixed interest rate Some may have consolidated already via early repayment consolidation –Federal student loan advantages are retained Deferment Forbearance Interest subsidy (subsidized portion) Loan forgiveness (portion of consolidation loan comprised of Stafford loans)

16 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Should You Consolidate? Calculations assume a repayment interest rate of 5.30% for unconsolidated loans, 4.75% for consolidation loans, and maximum repayment terms

17 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What’s Best for You? This seminar will take you through a simple, six step process that will help you determine if consolidation is the best option for you 1.Identify your education loan situation 2.Know when to consolidate 3.Decide which loans to consolidate 4.Identify your lender options 5.Understand your repayment options 6.Select an application process

18 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Identify Your Education Loan Situation What types of education loans do you have? What federal program are your loans issued under? –Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) –Federal Direct Lending Program (FDLP) –Both? How many loans do you have? How much did you borrow?

19 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Identify Your Education Loan Situation Do you have all of this information at your finger tips? Where can you get it? –National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS) –National Student Loan Clearing House (NSLC) –Your lender’s website Manage Your Loans – MYL

20 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Know When to Consolidate Federal regulations determine when a borrower may consolidate in the federal consolidation program. Once you know when you can consolidate, you’ll need to know when you can get the lowest possible interest rate. This is determined by the interest rates on the loans you are consolidating. These factors will determine what your fixed rate will be and how much you will pay in total interest.

21 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Know When to Consolidate Stafford interest rates are variable and are reset every year on July 1st. –The rate is based on the Treasury Bill (T-bill) auction and usually causes the interest rate to go up or down –Stafford loans have a lower interest rate while the loan is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status The interest rate goes up.60% when the loan is in a repayment or forbearance status –Since the final fixed rate on a consolidation loan is determined when the loan is consolidated, you will want to consolidate when the rates are the lowest!

22 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Know When to Consolidate Eligibility is based on borrower and loan status FFELP loans –Can consolidate when the loans have entered a grace or repayment status The borrower may request that loans in an in-school status be accelerated into repayment status while still attending school –Borrowers must know the rules and understand the impact! –Lenders are not required to honor early repayment requests FDLP loans –Can consolidate after the loan(s) is fully disbursed Even if the borrower is still in school In-school consolidation option terminates for all borrowers July 1st

23 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Know When to Consolidate* All borrowers may consolidate: –Anytime during the post-school, six-month grace period But you’ll give up any remaining grace period once the consolidation loan is disbursed So ask your lender to hold the disbursement of your loan until just before your grace period ends –Complete item 26 of Section D.1 on Common Consolidation Application –This option not available for Direct Loan consolidation –Anytime during repayment FFEL borrowers who accelerate loans directly to repayment status from in-school status will permanently waive the grace and in-school periods on those loans –During a period of deferment or forbearance *Special rules apply to borrowers who are delinquent or in default.

24 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Know When to Consolidate Borrowers with at least one Direct Loan or who are attending a DL school may obtain a Direct Consolidation Loan while still in school and still retain the grace period on their consolidation loan.

25 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Is Now the Time to Lock in Rates? Current Stafford rates are at the fourth lowest level in history of federal loan program Upward trend since May 2005 Future interest rates could be higher or lower –Market fluctuations –Law changes

26 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Decide Which Loans to Consolidate You can consolidate all of your eligible federal student loans or just some of them –Some loans may have existing benefits that may be lost if they are consolidated For example, Perkins loans lose loan forgiveness benefits when they are consolidated –Some loans may have interest rates that would influence the final fixed rate in such a way that it would be better to leave them out of the consolidation

27 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Decide Which Loans to Consolidate Once consolidated, Perkins, HPSL, LDS, and Federal Nursing loans lose their interest subsidy during a period of authorized deferment –Perkins loans retain interest subsidy if consolidated under the Direct Loan consolidation program Perkins loans lose Perkins-specific deferment options when they are consolidated You may exclude these loans from consolidation until you no longer need deferment subsidy Federal rules allow you to reconsolidate your consolidation loans with your Perkins loans, etc., at a later date

28 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Decide Which Loans to Consolidate Current regulations allow married couples to consolidate their loans together –As of 7/1/06, this option will no longer be available for FFEL or DL consolidation loans BUT, most borrowers are generally advised not to apply for spousal loans –Joint and several liability clause survives divorce –Deferment eligibility is harder to establish It is an option, but understand the rules and the implications!

29 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Identify Your Lender Options Federal regulations stipulate which lender you may consolidate with –Single Holder Rule: If all of your FFEL loans are with the same lender, you must attempt to consolidate with that lender first. If that lender does not offer consolidation loans or does not offer income sensitive repayment terms, you may select any eligible lender –If your loans are held by more than one lender, you may select any eligible lender

30 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Identify Your Lender Options If you have only Direct Loans, you may consolidate with the FDLP or with any eligible FFEL program lender If you have Direct Loans and FFEL loans with multiple lenders, you may consolidate with the FDLP or with any eligible FFEL program lender If you have Direct Loans and FFEL loans with one lender, you may consolidate with the FDLP or with the FFEL lender (single holder rule still applies)

31 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Identify Your Lender Options When you can select your lender, shop carefully –Look for lenders who have experience in the student loan program This will be a long term relationship –Compare borrower benefits Interest rate reductions, rebates Be sure you understand how to qualify for the benefits and how you can lose them Ask your lender to quote the “value” of the benefits being offered –Look for services and options you want

32 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Understand Repayment Options There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the four available repayment options under the FFEL* program –To minimize the amount of interest you pay, select the one with the highest payment you can reasonably afford * Note: The FDLP consolidation program has similar, but not identical repayment plans.

33 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Standard (Level) Repayment Most common option –Payments of equal, monthly installments –Automatically selected if you do not choose another plan –Direct Lending standard plan is limited to a 10-year payback period Advantage –Least expensive option in terms of total interest costs Drawback –Payment may be more than some borrowers can afford

34 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Graduated Repayment Tiered payment plan –Monthly payment amount changes periodically, usually increasing –Lenders’ plans may vary Advantage –Lower initial payments Drawback –Later payment tiers can be high –Higher interest costs

35 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Income-Sensitive Repayment Monthly payment based on the borrower’s income, re- examined annually –Payments must cover accruing interest –Lenders’ plans may vary –Direct Lending offers “income-contingent” plan with federally mandated eligibility calculations and payment amounts Maximum term can be extended up to 5 years Advantage –More affordable payment Drawback –Significantly higher interest costs over the life of the loan

36 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Extended Repayment Extends the repayment term for up to 25 years –Must have more than $30,000 in FFEL loans –Only for “new borrowers” on or after 10/7/98 Lender may offer either level or graduated schedule, or both Advantage –Can provide longer repayment term Drawback –Usually results in higher interest costs

37 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Postponing Repayment - Deferment A period of time during repayment in which the borrower, upon meeting certain conditions, is not required to make payments of loan principal –Government pays the interest on the subsidized portion of the consolidation loan –Most frequently used deferments In-school Unemployment Economic Hardship –Medical students may qualify for this deferment during residency programs

38 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Economic Hardship Deferment A period during which the borrower is working full time but is earning an amount that does not exceed the greater of the minimum wage or the poverty line for a family of two. Economic hardship also exists if a borrower’s monthly payments on federal education loans are equal to or greater than 20 percent of the borrower’s monthly income, as defined in FFELP regulations.

39 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. ECONOMIC HARDSHIP DETAILS  Federal education loans include Stafford, Perkins, GSL, SLS and certain Health Professions loans. Not included are private education loans, credit card debt, mortgages or car payments.  Monthly gross income refers to the borrower only; if married, a spouse’s income does NOT count. Having children makes no difference.  Poverty level, interest rates and income can change each year, so deferments must be applied for each year.  If you qualify, you may defer for up to three years.  Your loan servicer can calculate the numbers for you, but be sure they are aware of ALL your federal education loans and be sure they are using a 10 year repayment schedule.  You MUST file each year. Economic Hardship Deferment

40 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. ECONOMIC HARDSHIP DEFERMENT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TWO conditions must be met, and BOTH must be met to qualify for Economic Hardship Deferment: Condition #1: Borrower’s total monthly loan payments on FEDERAL education loans amortized over 10 years must EQUAL or EXCEED 20% of their monthly gross income… - AND - Condition #2: Borrower’s monthly gross income minus total monthly loan payments as described above must be LESS than $2,420* *220% of the greater of the monthly wage or the monthly living standard for a family of two living in poverty (continental U.S.);subject to change each year. (02/02/06) Economic Hardship Deferment

41 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. ECONOMIC HARDSHIP DEFERMENT CALCULATION EXAMPLE Assumptions: Annual salary$ 40,788 Monthly salary$ 3,399 Total Loan Portfolio $ 120,000 Monthly Loan Payments $ 1,511 Do you meet condition #1? Yes $ 1,511 greater than or equal to 20% of monthly gross income ($680) Do you meet condition #2? Yes $1,888 ($3,399– $1,511) is less than $ 2,420 Estimated payments calculated at current interest rates of 4.7 % in school and grace, 5.3% in repayment. Portfolio is based on $120,000 in Staffords borrowed over four years. Economic Hardship Deferment

42 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Postponing Repayment - Forbearance A period of time during which the borrower is permitted to temporarily cease making payments or reduce the amount of the payments –The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues on the loan during the forbearance period –Most forbearances are granted at the discretion of the lender; some forbearances are entitlements for eligible borrowers

43 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Forbearance Borrowers who need payment relief but do not meet the requirements for deferments Allows borrower to: –Temporarily postpone payments –Extend the period of time allowed to make payments –Temporarily make smaller payments Interest accrues on subsidized and unsubsidized loans

44 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Forbearance Mandatory: –Must be granted if you meet eligibility criteria –Available for internship/residency program Voluntary: –Granted at the discretion of your lender or servicer –Typically granted for a period up to 12 months –Verify impact on borrower benefits before applying Attention: Residents!

45 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Select an Application Process Online application –Can be an electronic process Including electronic signature –Can be printed out and signed Lender assistance over the telephone –Paper application or online Paper application –Usually the longest turn around time

46 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Select an Application Process Decide which process is best for you Gather all of your information Carefully complete the application –Online or paper Submit application in a timely manner –Take advantage of lowest rates Monitor progress If already in repayment, continue to make payments until loan is disbursed

47 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. What’s Best for You? Remember to review the six simple steps to evaluating loan consolidate 1.Identify your education loan situation 2.Know when to consolidate 3.Decide which loans to consolidate 4.Identify your lender options 5.Understand your repayment options 6.Select an application process In many cases today it is a good option, but only you can decide what is best for your situation.

48 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Why MEDLOANS Consolidation? Experience and service quality MEDLOANS borrower benefits –¼ % interest rate reduction for auto debit –1% interest rate reduction for 48 on-time payments –MEDLOANS Consolidation Cash Back benefit: Loan credit or cash back based on 1% of your initial MEDLOANS consolidation loan balance after 33 on-time payments. To qualify, before your first payment due date, sign up on Manage Your Loans to receive your account information by . Once earned, the MEDLOANS Cash Back Benefit is yours to keep. Flexible repayment options Combined billing with Sallie Mae private loans Concierge service –Can be requested online, over the phone or via request form Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs.; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fri. (ET) Online application and information –http://www.aamc.org/students/medloans/consolidation/start.htmhttp://www.aamc.org/students/medloans/consolidation/start.htm

49 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Early Repayment Consolidation Borrowers Early Repayment Consolidation If you consolidated last year while in school and have taken out new loans, you need to understand the repayment issues for your loans. Current consolidation loan does not have a grace period –Will go into repayment immediately once you leave school First payment due within 60 days Any newer Stafford loans will have a grace period –First payment due within 60 days of the end of the grace period

50 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Early Repayment Consolidation Borrowers Existing consolidation loan Newer Stafford loans End Of Grace Date 11/15/06 First Payment Due Anytime Up To 1/15/07 First Payment Due Anytime Up To 7/15/06 1.Make full payments 2.Explore interest only payments 3.Deferment 4.Forbearance How do I manage my debt during this time period? Out of School Date 5/15/06 Early Repayment Consolidation Sample Timeline Out of School Date 5/15/06

51 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Early Repayment Consolidation Borrowers Consolidate existing consolidation loan with new Stafford loans –New rate and term –Most convenient option; one loan, one payment Consolidate new Stafford loans –Will have two separate consolidation loans, probably with different interest rates and possibly with different repayment terms Keep loans separate –Existing consolidation loan goes into repayment immediately –Stafford loans go into repayment after grace Run your loan portfolio on repayment calculators to determine your best option If you already have a consolidation loan, you can:

52 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Examples Consolidate Existing Consolidation Loan with New Stafford Loans AmountInterest RateTermPaymentInterest Costs $120,0003.5%30 years$539$73,987

53 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Examples Existing Consolidation Loan AmountInterest RateTermPaymentInterest Costs $81, %30 years$338$40,229 Consolidate New Stafford Loans AmountRepayment Interest Rate TermPaymentInterest Costs $38, %20 years 30 years $249 $201 $21,211 $33,800

54 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Examples Existing Consolidation Loan AmountInterest RateTermPaymentInterest Costs $81, %30 years$338$40,229 New Stafford Loans – Not Consolidated AmountRepayment Interest Rate TermPaymentInterest Costs $38,5005.3% 7.3% 10 years $414 $453 $11,183 $15,859

55 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Private Education Loans Consider carefully whether or not consolidation is appropriate for your private education loans –Cannot be consolidated in a federal consolidation loan –Can be consolidated in a private consolidation loan –Some form of credit worthiness is almost always required Baseline credit score and/or minimum salary Co-signer may be required

56 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Private Education Loans Federal regulations do not apply to private consolidations loans –Restrictions of the federal program do not apply No single holder rule Can select any participating lender –Benefits of the federal program not available Deferment and forbearance entitlements Interest is not mandated by federal regulations –For example, can be a variable rate, that changes quarterly –Usually is higher than federal consolidation interest rate Application fees and other fees may apply –Carefully review the total overall costs, including what the new interest rate will be Existing private education loans may have lower rates

57 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Private Education Loan Consolidation Sallie Mae Private Consolidation Loan Will be available in late April 2006 Will provide combined billing with MEDLOANS federal consolidation loan borrowers

58 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Reauthorization – effective 7/1/06 Spousal consolidation eliminated New Stafford loans will be at a fixed rate New PLUS loans will be at a fixed rate Will not be able to consolidate while in school Both FFEL and DL Cannot reconsolidate unless Take out a new eligible loan Leave out an eligible loan

59 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. “You want to do what? A Primer on Loan Consolidation” Subscribe to MONEYMATTERS listserv: Resources

60 ©2006 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Questions?


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